On June 26, 2018, the Supreme Court officially voted to uphold Trump’s travel ban that has been on his agenda since the early days of his presidency. Now, there are travel restrictions on individuals coming from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea (yes, North Korea, who’s relationship with the United States was currently in-repair), and Venezuela from entering the United States. To Trump, this is an extraordinary victory and will serve as a tool for him to fulfill his promise of defending the country from “terrorism, crime and extremism.” Trump and his advisors have long argued that presidents possess the authority to control and redesign the way the United States controls its borders as deemed fit; and with the 5-4 majority Conservative vote, unfortunately, he has done so. A policy openly introduced as a total and complete ban on Muslims entering the United States has been masked as a national security concern and properly lipsticked enough for 5 out of the 9 judges to admire.
Naturally, as a nation built on immigrants, there has been major backlash and a lot of disappointment. Liberals have denounced the decision and many – even politicians and important decision-makers – have equated the ruling with that of the post-World War II decision in 1944 that endorsed the detention of Japanese-Americans. Justice Sotomayor claimed the court “blindly accept[ed] the Government’s misguided invitation to sanction a discriminatory policy,” as she became part of the minority vote. A decision like this puts policymakers and the Supreme Court on the wrong side of history and creates a platform that harbors the institutionalization of racism of Islamophobia and only encourages it to spread. Many have considered this ruling a historic failure in the sense that it has failed to protect its most vulnerable citizens – and people – from those that hold the most power.
In some regards, harboring such a policy that exudes fear, xenophobia and discrimination can potentially have the opposite of its intended effect and actually serve as a recruiting tool for extremist groups and existing terrorist organizations. Othering and grouping innocent individuals due to religion, race, or region can only induce further anger, resentment, and retaliation. If an extremist group held the values that Trump has claimed they do, i.e. exposing a deep hatred for the west and its ideals, a travel ban is only going to fuel their existing efforts and provide solid, tangible reason for them to alter and improve their already destructive tactics.
- The ACLU: a non-profit with a longstanding commitment to preserving and protecting the individual rights and liberties the Constitution and US laws guarantee all its citizens. You can also donate monthly to counter Trump’s attacks on people’s rights.
- The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law: a nonpartisan law and policy institute that works to defend and reform – as necessary – the US systems of democracy and justice, focusing on upholding the Constitution and US laws while maintaining national security.
- Stay up to date with the National Immigration Forum who advocates for the value of immigrants and immigration to the US and promotes responsible immigration policies and addresses those that hinder the success of immigrants.
- The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
This Brief was authored by Kathryn Baron. For inquiries, suggestions or comments email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo By Mitch Lensink